What is Love?

Haddaway had a great question: What is Love? <- (link if you want to jam out)

‘I don’t know why you’re not there
I give you my love but you don’t care
So what is right and what is wrong?
Gimme a sign
What is love?
Baby don’t hurt me no more’ – Haddaway

Thankfully, God gives us the clearest description of love possible and teaches us how to keep from hurting others. We’ll cover what love is and how it pertains to God and self.

 1 John 5:3 – this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments

Matt. 22:36-39 – “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Gal. 5:14 – For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

All of God’s commands are summed up with one word: LOVE!

But what is love? We all think we are loving and we are all hurt, so what are we missing? We all hear sex referred to as ‘making love’. We hear a lot of things… but have we heard how God defines love?

God knows we love Him when we keep His commands. The law is fulfilled when we are obedient (1st law) in loving people (2nd law).

Which is amazing, because what does God get out of us loving people? God shows us here:

1 John 4:8 – Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.


1 Cor. 13:4-8 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

In other words: God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He does not dishonor others, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails.

God doesn’t call us to follow His commands for no reason. He isn’t looking out for himself; He is not prideful and exalting himself above us. He gave us the commands as an instruction book on how to live life to the fullest; life abundant.

John 10:10 – The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.

1 John 5:3 – this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

Matt. 11:30 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

He knows that every person alive is looking for love. We can look for love everywhere, but if we aren’t looking in the right place it weighs us down and hurts us. He has already told us how to find true love that gives rest, ease, and no burden. True love is God and we are called to be made into His likeness. When we become like God, we become love and our burden is light.

I’m working on a study about dating (a coming post), and one thought came to mind: I should not be looking to date until I’ve learned how to love. Starting a relationship without knowing how to love is going to end in disaster! After I came to this realization, I made this list, based on 1 Cor. 13, to see if I’m measuring up to God’s likeness or not; to see if I’m capable of loving a spouse or not:

Am I patient? Am I kind? Do I envy: feel discontent, or want others advantages, success, or possessions? Do I boast of or exaggerate myself? Am I proud: as to put myself as superior or more important than someone else? Do I dishonor others with insults, or try to bring shame to others? Am I self-seeking and looking for my own profit or interests even if it hurts someone? Am I easily angered, wronged, displeased, troubled, or resentful? Am I unforgiving, or focused on, repaying evil for evil? Do I delight when evil happens to someone, whether I planned it for them or not? Do I rejoice when truth and good prevail in the life of my enemies? Am I patient, kind, protecting, trusting, confident, hopeful, and persevering with others?

The answer is NO! A big, big NO! (and when I can say yes, I’ll be looking for a man who can say yes to this too)

I had to figure it out, but eventually realized I was not capable of loving people at all! People cray! But I found out all the law is fulfilled in the first command. If we love God, we will automatically learn to love people. Even then I couldn’t figure out how to love God, so I prayed this prayer which has flipped my life upside down: “God, teach me how to love you and how to love other.” God is teaching me about honorable prayers (a coming post). This prayer is the most honorable. If you want to see God moving in your life, I dare you to try it.

Matt. 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

I can put my desires above God. I can date whoever, whenever, but will it turn out well? No. When it comes down to it, after being a christian 17 years, I still haven’t sought Gods most important commands or sought his righteousness – how to live a life with love. I’ve learned many things, but if the most important command is love, then I’ve missed the mark. How can I seek a dating relationship when I have no idea how to love? How can I live without burden when I weigh down my friends with my own envious, self-seeking behaviors? So, I’m done; no more playing around. I’m gonna learn to love, and nothing is going to take precedence till I get there.

Along the way, I noticed this little gem hiding in the love chapter; a pattern of how we turn bitter:

1 Cor. 13:4-8 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

This scripture shows us that everything starts with unforgiveness, and that love, in essence, is forgiveness. Was that not what the Bible teaches us anyway? (God so loved the world that He gave His one Son to die for us – He took on our punishment of death if we simply accept it… the death penalty from not loving others?) Reading it backwards we see how it builds up:

  1. unforgivness turns into being easily angered (repaying an evil with anger or delighting when something bad happens to that person)
  2. being easily angered turns into being self-seeking (anger makes me put myself first)
  3. self-seeking turns into dishonoring others (if I’m first then I’m pointing fingers at the last)
  4. dishonoring others turns into pride (shaming others makes us think we are better)
  5. pride turns into boasting (if we think we are better we start exaggerating ourselves)
  6. boasting turns into envy (when we get full of ourselves, we get mad about others being better, or having more, because we’ve made an ungodly system of hierarchy to hold ourselves to)
Last week one of my bible study groups talked about unforgiveness. That week I was also reading a book that suddenly was talking about unforgiveness. I felt like I had already forgiven everyone, but I prayed anyway, since I don’t believe in coincidence, and said ‘God show me if I have any unforgiveness.’ He revealed this pattern from the love chapter this weekend and today, behold, someone called me at work; I answered as usual, ‘This is Jehle’. They said ‘Shannon?’ and the first thing that came to mind, while my face was turning hot, was, ‘Did I say, ‘This is Shannon?’. Tada! God revealed unforgiveness in my heart. Pay attention to what easily angers you and reflect on why. The fact that I was easily angered (in 2 seconds flat!) shows that there was a thorn hiding somewhere, rubbing me raw! Until I receive love in this area of my life, I will not be able to give love in that area.
Matt 10:8 –  Freely you have received; freely give.
We can’t give what we haven’t recieved. Seems it stemmed from past hurts of being ignored. Poor communication is my biggest pet peeve; make me repeat myself and you’ll see the flames of hell! Thank God that He sees my hurt and wants to heal it, to bring wholeness to me, and so I can love others in a wholesome way. He is capable of changing our hearts and bringing us into the fullness of Christ. God is love and God can heal our wounds. We need to rely on Him, ask Him to reveal and heal our wounds, and bring us to a place of forgiveness for each crime against us. Forgiveness is going to be another post soon, but just remember this for now: Forgiveness starts as a choice then moves to our hearts. What was done was wrong. Forgiveness is not saying that what happened was okay; it’s simply saying I want to live free from this burden, and I choose not to repay this person with evil. Also remember that one of the aspects of God is that he does not dishonor; he is respectful whether we respect Him or not. If you only want Him in a certain part of your life, He will only be in that part. We have to invite Him into each part of us; invite Him to heal each wound. He never fails. We choose this day life or death. Unforgiveness is a path to death, burden, and replayed disaster.
Heb. 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Matt. 14:14 – And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.
2 Cor. 3:17 – Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Cor. 12:4,7,9 – Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit… But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good… For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
Ps. 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds